Two MIT professors named Jamison Go, and John Hart have developed a new 3D printing hardware called FastFFF (Fast Fused Filament Fabrication) which is ten times faster than 3D printers we use today.
3D printers have become more and more useful in the mass production of complex products that are cheaper and stronger. However, the only issue with 3D printing is its slow speed. These desktop 3D printers can print only one product at a time and only one thin layer at a making.
The process is rather time-consuming, and the main factors behind it are the force that can be applied to filament when it’s pushed through the nozzle, time taken by heat to melt the filament, movement of build area around build area and the time taken by the material to solidify.
The printing process begins with a polymer rod or filament which is then heated, melted and forced through a nozzle in the printhead. The printhead, then, moves in a programmed pattern depositing one layer of polymer at a time.
According to Hart, “So rather than starting with a solid block and grinding material away, in 3-D printing — also called additive manufacturing — you start with nothing and build up your object one layer at a time,”
To solve the hurdles, Go and Hart adopted creative techniques such as developing a new method of extrusion using a threaded nut and threading the filament. This method of extrusion is comparatively faster and more precise than the contemporary method used in Desktop 3D printers.
To address the heating time, the professors used lasers. When the filament passes through the quartz chamber, a laser is bounced around inside which pre-heats the filament before it passes through the traditional heating block.
Lastly, the MIT professors designed a servo driven parallel gantry system that moves the printhead rapidly and precisely around with little backlash. Speed is increased by using a heavy-duty frame and powerful motors.
You can see the process yourself:
The newly adopted techniques resulted in a printer that outperformed $100,000 commercial 3D printers. FastFFF costs $15,000 and the new extrusion is 7 to 10 times faster. Now, the printer is capable of is producing up to 127 cubic centimeters per hour.
FastFFF 3D printer still needs improvement, and there is no clarity as to when the 10 times fast 3D printer will hit the markets.